Thursday, October 04, 2007

Chapter 9: Neither Hair nor There


I hate my hair.

Most males in my family are born with a shiny blond mop which darkens to a deep brown around age five, when the hair realizes it's no longer cute and politely vacates the kid's scalp. In my case, the blond never left.

In direct sunlight, it's bright yellow, the color of a Post-it note. I dyed it a couple of times in college, but that made it brittle.

I grew it long during my late-teen, I-hate-the-world phase. Combined with my six-foot frame, it made me look mysterious, maybe even intimidating. But the closer you got, the uglier it became. I had so many split ends that, if you grabbed a handful, it looked like a ball of frayed twine.

Emily says I have "Nordic" features. I assume she's talking about my blue eyes and thin nose, which are attractive in an understated way, like an evening news anchorman. Whenever a girl looks through my photo albums, she'll stop at any picture of me in a baseball cap and say, "Ooh! You look so cute here!", then sit quietly as she flips through the ones in which my hair is visible.

Around my junior year in college, my hair and I found a truce somewhere between George Clooney and Conan O'Brien. Most days, I part it neatly on the side, and comb it from left to right. I still don't like it, though, and it's a major blow to my confidence every time I walk out of the bathroom and catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

If I am going to make myself over, part of the change should be physical. And if it's going to be physical, it ought to involve my hair.

Stainer says I am making a big deal over nothing. "If you're a good-looking guy, it helps, but if you're ugly, it doesn't hurt you," he says, flipping between football and hockey on my wall-mounted television. "Girls don't care about looks the way guys do."

"Then what's she doing with Doug?"

"Doug's got money and juice. It doesn't matter what he looks like. He's probably a fat, bald lardass."

"Thanks, man."

He's right, though. I just assumed that Doug was dashing and handsome, but I really have no reason to think so.

Stainer tells me that I need confidence, even if I have nothing to be confident about. "Did you put on any cologne today?" he asks.

"Um, yeah, I think so. Why?"

"One spray? Two?"

"One, I think."

"Come on, man! You gotta spray it like you mean it!"

He grabs a bottle off my dresser and aims it three inches from the top button on my shirt, then sprays frantically, as if I am on fire.

"What are you doing, dude?!"

He breathes deeply through his nose. "Ahhhh," he sighs. "Cologne smells differently on everyone, depending on their chemistry. That's why the cologne companies can't trademark their smells. You have good chemistry."

"So that's it? Just wear more cologne?"

"No. One other thing. When you make plans, stop asking her what she wants to do. Tell her. Don't ask!"

"But what if she--"

"Tell her! And stop playing with your hair!"

* * *

SugarKookie: so im going to top of the hub with eric on friday

RedFoxx85: with eric???

SugarKookie: yes ERIC... this is not a misprint :-)

RedFoxx85: isnt that expensive

SugarKookie: SUPER expensive

RedFoxx85: whats the occasion

SugarKookie: "he loves me"

RedFoxx85: pardon me while i barf lol

RedFoxx85: actually that is very sweet

SugarKookie: not sure whats gotten into him lately

SugarKookie: hes very... aggressive all of a sudden

RedFoxx85: ooo!

SugarKookie: no not like that... well maybe a little :-)

SugarKookie: he wanted to go out friday, it had to be friday, made me change my plans

RedFoxx85: doug plans?

SugarKookie: no i wouldnt have changed those plans lol

SugarKookie: oh and he smelled like he crashed into a cologne truck too

RedFoxx85: ew

RedFoxx85: y do guys do that

SugarKookie: no clue... cologne is supposed to be subtle, its supposed to make you lean in closer

RedFoxx85: i know eric always smells so nice

SugarKookie: get ur nose off my man lol

RedFoxx85: y do u think hes bein so aggressive

SugarKookie: dunno maybe he just subscribed to maxim

RedFoxx85: lol

RedFoxx85: u like guys with attitude tho dont u

SugarKookie: ya but thats not eric

Next... Chapter 10: What Would Stainer Do?